Learn about the history of the UVA Medical Center dating back to 1901 when UVA dedicated its first hospital.
Medical Center History
Thomas Jefferson founded UVA's medical education and patient care program in 1825, but there was no hospital at all until many years later.
A dispensary, which served as a surgery center until 1901 and for outpatient care until 1916, was constructed in 1895. Still, patients were taken across the street to a rooming house to recuperate from surgery. A hint of things to come was the establishment of a six-bed, public inpatient facility in a remodeled home. It was not owned by UVA, but university physicians could practice there.
In the spring of 1901, UVA dedicated its first hospital: a 25-bed building with three operating rooms. By 1916, there had been three new additions to the hospital, bringing the total beds to 200. By 1941, rising patient volume had required another four additions to the hospital and brought inpatient capacity to 485.
In 1960, the cluster of old buildings and additions saw its final expansion with the completion of a modern, eight-story, 400-bed structure that planners called the multistory hospital and the public dubbed the "new hospital." The new facility was air-conditioned, spacious and was equipped with the best technology available at the time.
Another 29 years passed before UVA opened a new hospital building. A certificate of need was approved by the Virginia General Assembly in April 1984. Groundbreaking for the new hospital was held on November 7, 1984, and excavations began the following summer. The total project, including the University Hospital, a 642-space parking garage and a heater/chiller plant, is the largest capital project in the state's history aside from highway construction. It had a budget of $230 million, including $24 million from the state.